Monday, 14 February 2011


The River Tamar acts as a natural as well as official border between Cornwall and Devon, and there are two ways of making the crossing between the two counties at its southern end: the vehicle ferry from Torpoint and the toll bridge from Saltash, the latter the work of one of Britain’s most distinguished engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which carries not only cars, but trains as well. The bridge is a sight for sore eyes for homesick Cornish expats coming home after a long time away as well as an impressive crossing point for visitors to Cornwall. The government is threatening to create a new constituency which would cross the Tamar forcing a Devon-Cornwall border merge, which has created an outcry among the locals.

Saltash has a long history of providing passage across the River Tamar, starting with a ferry set up by fishermen. This was an important crossing point during the Norman conquest, and later on the Ferry was granted by Elizabeth I’s charter in 1585. During the 1800s a chain guided steam ferry came into use. Then finally in 1961, after 700 years of ferry crossings at this point on the Tamar, the ferry ceased operation when a road bridge was opened by Elizabeth I’s namesake, H.M. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, just over a hundred years after the rail bridge.


Map of the area.

Photo by Kicior99, via Wikimedia Commons

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